Elena Pogrebizhskaya: “We want to pretend that nothing is happening.”

July 12, 2022
Katerina Gordeeva interviews journalist and musician Elena Pogrebizhskaya, who discusses continuing to create in wartime and the gap between anti-war creative workers and their pro-war audience.
In an interview on Tell Gordeeva on YouTube published on June 21, Katerina Gordeeva speaks to Elena Pogrebizhskaya, documentary film director, journalist and musician. She runs her own popular YouTube channel, Films of Elena Pogrebizhskaya (619k subscribers).

Pogrebizhskaya worked as a reporter for ORT (Channel 1) in the 1990s before going into music as the leader of the rock band Butch and then directing independent documentaries. She has been a leading voice in Russia on problems at hospices, boarding schools and mental hospitals. Her work received considerable attention and led to a reform of orphanages.

In the interview, Pogrebizhskaya recalls her experience at Ostankino, corrupt journalists and the strict censorship on television. She speaks about the difficult path of a musician and expresses her distaste for the uncultured fans of Butch. She shares her view about rock musicians who support the war in Ukraine. Unlike conformist rockers afraid of losing income, she doesn’t want to sing songs for people who support the war and isn’t giving concerts now.

A huge gulf now lies between her and the audience of her YouTube channel: her subscribers aren’t interested in videos that condemn the war in Ukraine and criticize her for her comments on politics. Pogrebizhskaya faces a crisis. Her worldview is in tatters, while the revenue from her documentaries doesn’t cover the cost of making them. Yet she can’t force herself to do what she doesn’t believe in and pretend that nothing is happening. Still, she hasn’t left the country and remains in Moscow. For her, the “motherland” isn’t about the government or country but the Russian language.

Digest written by the Russia.Post editorial team.
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